Job Specs – Description or Deception?

So, you’ve just been recruited for a great new job. You’ve met your new boss and the HR Manager during the interview process, and you’ve seen the great office where you were interviewed. The Job spec was a perfect match to what you want to be doing and the moment has finally arrived when you are going to start on the next stage of your career. It’s a very exciting and slightly nervous time.

Things start to feel a little odd when the people who meet you seem a little unsure who you are and what you’re doing there. You finally get shown to a desk that belongs to someone else, and told that there’s not much you can do until you get a login-id and a security pass issued (you did bring in 10 passport photos, a utilities bill, passport and driving license, didn’t you?).

Your new boss finally shows up, but only to ask if everything is OK as she is really busy today and hopes the team are making you feel welcome.

Finally, you get to start working on something but it’s not quite what you were expecting, and you go home feeling somewhat deflated and wondering if you might have made a terrible mistake.

Hopefully, we have moved on from this once typical recruitment scenario, but how far have we really come?

Early days attrition is still a major issue for a number of industries, and this often starts at the very beginning of the recruitment process with the definition of the role to be filled. Not all roles are glamorous and exciting. It can be tempting to try and dress up a role in fine clothes to make it look more attractive and attract candidates who may be put off by a more dowdy description. What this actually achieves is doubly negative.

Firstly, candidates who are best suited to the actual role, may feel uncomfortable with the finery associated with the role and simply fail to apply for the job, thinking the role is not for them. Secondly, candidates who do apply and get through the interview process, may feel misdirected when they arrive for their first day to find that their new job is not at all what they had expected.

If we want to recruit the best candidates for the job, have them join the team and become a long-term, productive member of the team, then we need to make sure we are completely open and honest from the very start of the recruitment process.

This means the role description must be an accurate, up to date reflection of the role in the real world. It should be recognizable as such by other members of staff who are filling the same role, and the same description must be used by everyone in the organization (including the extended organization such as recruitment consultants).

The interview process needs to reinforce the elements of the role and make sure all candidates understand its dimensions’ and won’t be surprised when they join.

A role description can be an invaluable aid to making sure expectations are clear to all surrounding a role. If it becomes merely a marketing or sales tool then it becomes the first dissatisfier we pass to a prospective new employee.

Let’s make recruitment a positive reinforcement of a company’s ethos and values and get the right people working in the right places across our organization.


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